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Non-Cleared OTC Derivatives: Their Importance to the Global Economy March 2013 www.isda.org
Introduction 3 Executive Summary 4 Regulatory Reform, Clearing and the Evolution of the OTC Derivatives Markets 6
Current Policy Concerns Regarding the Treatment of Non-Cleared OTC Derivatives 8
Types of Non-Cleared OTC Derivatives 10
Key Segments of the Non-Cleared OTC Interest Rate Derivatives Market: Swaptions; Cross-Currency Swaps; Interest Rate Options; Inflation Swaps 11 Non-Cleared Segments of Largely Clearable Interest Rate Derivatives Markets: Forward Rate Agreements (FRAs); Basis Swaps; Overnight Index Swaps (OIS) 13 Other Segments of the Non-Cleared OTC
Derivatives Market: Credit Derivatives; Commodity and Energy Derivatives; Equity Derivatives 14
The Benefits of Non-Cleared OTC Derivatives 17
Why Will Some But Not All -- OTC Derivatives Be Cleared? 18
Conclusions 21 Appendix 1: An Overview of the Derivatives Markets 23 Appendix 2: Excerpt from the Financial Stability Board Paper 25
INTRODUCTION The traditional world of derivatives, consisting of both listed and over-the-counter (OTC) instruments, is undergoing significant change. Clearing of OTC derivatives through central counterparties has grown rapidly over the last decade. The percentage of cleared interest rate swaps, for example, has doubled in the past four years and over half that market is now cleared. This transformation is slated to continue given the pace and momentum of regulatory reform until upwards of 70 percent of global OTC derivatives activity is cleared. The residual non-cleared segment of the OTC derivatives market while somewhat smaller in size -- will nonetheless be critical to the global economy. Non-cleared OTC derivatives will continue to play an important role in many industries and in many areas of economic activity. They are used extensively by corporations, investment and pension funds, governments and financial institutions to run their operations and to manage risk. Current regulatory proposals regarding margin requirements for non-cleared derivatives pose significant threats to the continued functioning of this vital market segment. Such proposals also fail to fully consider the lessons learned regarding margin practices during the recent financial crisis. These are important issues -- not only for the derivatives markets but also more broadly for financial markets and the global economy. It is within this context that ISDA has developed this paper. It is intended to explain what non-cleared OTC derivatives are, who uses them and why. It outlines the evolution of clearing in the OTC derivatives markets, the types and benefits of non-cleared OTC derivatives and the impact of the regulatory proposals in this area.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The non-cleared segment of the OTC derivatives market includes many important products with significant value to the economy. These products enable industrial companies and governments to effectively finance and manage risk in their operations and activities and help pension funds meet their obligations to retirees. They help support economic growth by enabling banks to lend to corporate and individual customers. They play a vital role in virtually every industry from financial services to international trade to home mortgages. As the Financial Stability Board has noted: demand for bespoke products comes from a variety of market participants. These include non-financial corporate end-users such as airlines, financial sector end-users such as insurance companies and banks, as well as hedge funds and institutional investors including pension funds, mutual funds, university endowments, and sovereign wealth funds. Derivatives dealers themselves also may have tailored needs that can be met through the use of bespoke products.1 As a result of this demand, the non-cleared segment of the OTC derivatives market is expected to remain significant in size. While most of the OTC derivatives market is expected to be cleared, a substantial portion will not be. As stated in the Second Consultative Document on margin requirements that was recently issued by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and the Board of Governors of the International Organizations of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)2, a substantial fraction of OTC derivatives will not be able to be cleared. The paper also cites an earlier IMF study3, according to which 25% of the interest rate derivatives market, 33% of the credit default swaps market, and significant percentages of other types of OTC derivatives will remain non-cleared. Given its continuing importance and relevance, the non-cleared OTC derivatives market segment needs to be clearly understood. ISDA estimates the non-cleared OTC derivatives market will consist of the following: Several large, relatively broad market segments, including the majority of interest rate
swaptions and options, cross-currency swaps, single-name credit default swaps and various types of equity and commodity swaps, will likely remain non-cleared, as they do not fit the eligibility requirements of clearinghouses (CCPs).
A number of individual sectors of many otherwise clearable OTC derivative product
classes will likely remain non-cleared due to a lack of liquidity (and associated lack of valuation/pricing depth) in certain transactions. The lack of liquidity in these areas results from the economic terms (currency denominations, maturities, underlying reference rates, etc.) of such transactions, which are traded less than other transactions in those product classes.
1 Financial Stability Board; Implementing OTC Derivatives Market Reforms: October 25, 2010 2 Second Consultative Document, Margin requirements for non-centrally cleared derivatives Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and the Board of Governors of the International Organizations of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) 3 IMF Report, April 2010
Transactions involving sovereigns, central banks, corporations and other non-financial end-users in jurisdictions around the world where such market participants are exempt from clearing requirements will also remain non-cleared.
Non-cleared OTC derivatives play a vital role in risk management and in business decision-making that cannot be filled by clearable instruments. If users are forced to abandon non-cleared derivatives, and instead have to employ imperfect or unsuitable hedges using only clearable risk-hedging tools, they may be confronted with unwanted basis risk. Users might also find that their transactions do not qualify for hedge accounting treatment, which would introduce significant volatility to their income statements. In addition, there are certain specific risks for which the appropriate hedge is not yet and may not in the future be available in cleared form. As a result, users may decide to forego their hedging strategy and remain exposed to the risks they previously wished to manage away. They may also prefer to not take the underlying risks at all, which could have dampening effects on economic growth. Many standardized OTC derivatives cannot be cleared (such as most single-name credit default swaps (CDS)) and many non-standardized transactions can be cleared. Non-cleared transactions are often viewed as complex bespoke products, while cleared transactions are viewed as standardized and simple. However, contrary to popular belief, OTC derivatives with bespoke economic terms can be and are cleared. Standardization of economic terms is therefore not a direct condition required for clearing. Standardization of legal and operational terms is, however, required for clearing. Significant effort has been made by market participants to achieve this type of standardization in recent years. This, together with the strong economic incentive that firms have to clear, is one reason why OTC derivatives clearing has substantially increased in recent years, ahead of clearing mandates. The regulatory treatment of non-cleared OTC derivatives has important implications for risk management, the financial system and the global economy. The proposed regulatory treatment of non-cleared OTC derivatives might adversely affect usage of these products and negatively impact the economy. Regulatory proposals for non-cleared OTC derivatives must take into consideration the uses and value of non-cleared OTC derivatives, and whether any benefits gained from such proposals, such as proposed rules for margin for non-cleared transactions, outweigh the substantial costs that they could impose.
REGULATORY REFORM, CLEARING AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE OTC DERIVATIVES MARKETS During and after the global financial crisis, policymakers and market participants sought to develop a stronger and more robust framework for financial activity. In September 2009, at their Pittsburgh Summit, the heads of state of the G-20 nations committed to strengthening the financial system and the world economy. With regards to derivatives specifically, the G20 wrote:
Improving over-the-counter derivatives markets: All standardized OTC derivative contracts should